While criticism of the Pick-Me Girl’s internalized misogyny abounds, rarely does anyone bother to criticize the misogynistic way women apply the term. The name is more likely to be used to shut down productive discussion and to discredit women than it is to describe someone who fits the stereotype of a Pick-Me.
The term “Pick-Me Girl” is defined by Urban Dictionary as “a girl who goes out of their way to impress boys and make them seem that they're ‘not like other girls’.” Being “Not Like the Other Girls” usually involves making comparisons between oneself and other girls to feel superior. Pick-Me Girls do the same thing with the specific intention of being more appealing to men.
What Makes a “Pick-Me Girl” Different from an “NLOG?”
It can be pretty entertaining to see anonymous “Not like the other girls,” or “NLOG,” posts online. The point a lot of people who laugh at the NLOGs on social media miss, however, is that NLOGs behave the way they do to be — ironically — relatable. Many NLOG memes feature “other girls” wearing makeup and high heels vs. “me” wearing sweatpants and reading a book, but it usually isn’t meant to criticize anyone specific, and most girls can relate to both women pictured in such a meme.
Girls repost NLOG memes for likes from other girls who feel unique for the exact same reasons, and eventually realize that they’re part of “other girls” and there truly is no “other” who is so different that she can’t fit in. It turns out, feeling a little bit that you aren’t like the other girls is a phase many of us went through as young teens and tweens. As we settle into stable friend groups, we grow out of the need to feel superior because we have what we really wanted: social acceptance. We realize we don’t need to group other women into stereotypes and put others down to know our self-worth, nor do we need to be kind of mean to fit in, and we grow out of the phase.
Pick-Me Girls, however, don’t grow out of the phase. Rather than looking to fit into a teenage social group, they are grown women looking to appeal to men at all costs. If the radical feminists are to be believed, Pick-Me Girls compare themselves to other women to such a degree that they’re setting women’s rights back at least a century by condemning the women who don’t want to be subservient to men. The Pick-Me Girl’s only goal is, supposedly, to find a husband — any husband — and be proud to be his sexually available doormat dressed like a 1950s housewife.
What the Radical Feminists Get Wrong about the Pick-Me Girl
The stereotype of the Pick-Me Girl has been greatly exaggerated, thanks to Twitter’s trend #TweetlikeaPickme. The onslaught of satirical tweets created a stereotype that couldn’t exist, with some women bragging about how they ask their husbands for permission to breathe, and others bragging about how they chew their husband’s food for them. The fictional Pick-Me Girls all have several things in common: they’re anti-feminist, sometimes for biblical reasons, they believe all women are subservient to all men, and they condemn women who don’t follow their lifestyle as ungodly or immoral.
I’d be willing to bet, however, that most of us have never met someone, even among the most traditional-minded people, who truly fits that stereotype.
But what actually gets one labeled a “Pick-Me Girl”? Unfortunately, it doesn’t take all that much. Many radical feminists would label someone who reads this very magazine, which is full of positive relationship advice, a Pick-Me. A radical feminist would see headlines about attracting men and would completely miss the parts that tell women we absolutely should have standards and boundaries. She would see an article that lists ways to be more feminine and assume it’s for the pleasure of the male-gaze, rather than the empowerment of the woman. She would see an anecdote about a woman’s personal rejection of hookup culture, and feel morally judged for her own choices, when no judgment was implied.
Where Is the Name “Pick-Me Girl” Being Used Unironically?
There are plenty of corners of the internet where women are using the term, whether it’s warranted or not: in the wide world of Facebook tag groups, in YouTube videos, on Twitter, and anywhere you might find discussion of political or cultural issues in a comment section.
“Pick-Me Girl” has been weaponized by women to shut other women down in discussion.
I once was called a Pick-Me Girl because I pointed out in a comment section that if we’re annoyed by random strangers texting us to flirt, we should ignore them rather than respond just to tell the man he isn’t entitled to our time. Immediately, my comment thread was flooded with people asking “Did you get picked yet, sis?” and tagging groups like “The pick me signal has been lit!” The ironic part was that the Facebook group I was in was filled mostly with women. If Pick-Me Girls are looking for male approval, then I would certainly have been looking for attention in the wrong place.
Later that week I discovered a new Facebook group called “Someone disagreed with me they must be looking for male approval” and found there were plenty of other women who had similar experiences and now have created a place where they can post the screenshots. Women in this group have been called Pick-Me Girls for things as innocuous as liking to cook. Some had also been called a Pick-Me for discussing issues affecting men, or simply for rejecting man-hating.
What Makes the Name “Pick-Me Girl” Truly Misogynistic?
“Pick-Me Girl” has been weaponized by women to shut other women down in discussions on everything from cultural and political issues to conversations about women’s personal lives. In a discussion on women’s issues, all women deserve to have a voice, but man-hating feminists see it differently. They would sooner suggest that her political opponent can’t think for herself, which is what the name “Pick-Me Girl” implies. It shuts down productive conversations and in the long run prevents us from finding solutions to real-world problems.
In a discussion on women’s issues, all women deserve to have a voice, but man-hating feminists disagree.
It acts to further divide women from each other while seeking to divide women from men, which most certainly is not the answer to weeding out misogyny where it does exist. The women using the term assume that all men think the same way and that all men are bad, thus all male approval is bad. They look down on any opinion or behavior that might happen to appeal to men. I would imagine being this antagonistic towards men has never changed the mind of a real misogynist, and instead would serve to make the problem worse.
Making the term even more anti-woman is the fact that, more often than not, the meanest of feminists will substitute it with the phrase “Pick-Me B*tch” or even “Pick-Me A** B*tch,” which, of course, also implies all that the word “b*tch” usually entails.
How Can We Push Back?
While screenshotting a ridiculous comment section and posting it in a different tag group where everyone agrees with you can be satisfying, it doesn’t change anyone’s minds. I personally think one of the most powerful things we can do is to come to each other’s aid in online discussion and in person. The next time you hear or see someone being called a “Pick-Me,” we can respectfully tell the name-caller, “We pick her. Free-thinking women everywhere who don’t resort to name-calling to make a point pick her.”
One of the most powerful things we can do is to come to each other’s aid.
The other, and probably the most important, thing we can do is to be the bigger person, to stay respectful, and to not let the name-calling stop us. We don’t need to care about the name-caller’s opinion of us, and we’re too smart to stoop to their level and call them names right back.
Being called a “Pick-Me” is frustrating. Nothing is more ironically obnoxious than being accused of internalized misogyny by a woman who hates other women for disagreeing with her. There’s nothing wrong with women living their lives and having opinions, regardless of whether those opinions overlap with those of some men. In the end, the women who focus on themselves and their own happiness will be better off than the women who go out of their way to avoid male approval and spend their time trying to dictate how other women live their lives.